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Change of career
Thinking of changing your career?
There are many reasons why you might want to consider a change of career. Maybe you would like to increase your earning potential? Perhaps you feel stuck in a rut? Or you feel you chose the wrong career and would like to try something different? You’ve been made redundant and are looking for new options? Or maybe you've just outgrown your current role and feel it's time to move on.
'It feels a real privilege to work as a psychologist. The work is well paid and very varied. Skills learnt in previous occupations can often augment experience and understanding as a psychologist. I have worked in prisons where there are high levels of social and economic disadvantage amongst prisoners. What could be more satisfying than working with those most in need of psychological services?'
Professor Graham Towl DSc, Chief Psychologist, Ministry of Justice
Changing your career can be stressful and you should be sure that the time is right for you. Discuss this matter with friends and family and consider speaking to a professional careers advisor before making a final decision.
Why choose psychology?
You may consider becoming a psychologist if you are interested in working with people and have a scientific mind.
Psychologists work in many areas of society such as business, health, education and sport. They use scientific methods and knowledge about human mind and behaviour to help deal with practical problems such as:
- Helping people overcome depression, stress, trauma or phobias
- Easing the effect of parental divorce on children
- Helping to deal with addictions
- Helping alleviate educational problems (dyslexia and learning disabilities)
- Speeding up recovery from brain injury
- Helping to stop or prevent bullying at school or in the workplace
- Making sure that people are happy at work and perform well
- Helping the police, courts and prison service to perform more effectively
- Helping athletes to perform better
What’s the quickest route into psychology?
Psychologists must have postgraduate qualifications so there isn’t a fast track route. To reach Chartered status you need to obtain our Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). Usually this means taking an accredited psychology undergraduate degree followed by postgraduate training in the specific area you are interested in.
There is a lot of competition for postgraduate courses and most require applicants to have some relevant work experience before applying.
Am I eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)?
If you are a graduate in a subject other than psychology you may be able to gain eligibility for GBC by taking a Society accredited conversion course, which will normally take one year full-time or two years part-time.
Some universities offering conversion courses require a minimum of 60 credits of previous psychology study at undergraduate level for entry onto the course. You should contact the universities you are interested in for further information about entry requirements, fees, funding and course duration.
If you are unable to gain entry to a conversion course, you will need to take an accredited undergraduate degree in psychology to gain eligibility for GBC.
I want to be a psychologist - but what type?
Psychologists normally specialise in a particular area such as education, health or sport, and the range of accredited postgraduate training programmes available reflects this. See Careers in Psychology - Postgraduate for further information.
Psychology is a huge scientific discipline and the Society confers Chartered status in the following areas:
- Clinical psychologists
- Counselling psychologists
- Educational psychologists
- Forensic psychologists
- Health psychologists
- Occupational psychologists
- Sport and exercise psychologists
- Teachers and researchers in psychology
- Other types of psychologist
Is there any age limit for training to become a psychologist?
We don’t set any age limits for our members and it is illegal for employers in the UK to discriminate against someone because of their age. It is worth pointing out that the process of obtaining Chartered status is lengthy (up to seven years), so you may wish to consider your options carefully, but that is true for all trainees regardless of age.
Get a head start in psychology
Anyone interested in psychology can take advantage of the many benefits of belonging by subscribing to the Society. If you haven't already, create a free web account and apply online. Alternatively, you can complete and return an application form.